Every time that I consider another season of sub .500 baseball by the Pirates, who are arguably one of the most storied franchises in the history of professional baseball, I want to perform my loudest imitation of Fred G. Sanford. The character was portrayed by the late comic icon Redd Foxx. Every time Mr. Sanford was traumatized by any events real or imagined he would grab and clutch his chest feigning a heart attack all while yelling up into the heavens to his deceased wife, “Elizabeth, I’m coming to join you.” Most of the fans who watched the show and knew about the scurrilous and suspect personality of the world’s most famous junkman couldn’t even remotely imagine Fred getting anywhere near the “pearly gates.” Yeah go ahead and laugh at me. Call me names like “dreamer,” “naïve,” “homer.”
You can define me any way that you wish but I will always keep hope alive. I have more and better memories of the Pittsburgh Pirates than the world has been forced to watch for the past 18 years. There was a time when there was not one weakness in the starting “nine” of the Pirates from head to foot. No team wanted to face them on any afternoon or evening. There was not even slightest desire by the opposition to face the gargantuan Pirates lefthander Bob Veale on a summer night trying to see through his fogged up ½ inch glasses with hands big enough to cause the baseball to appear as if it was a ping pong ball; all while throwing 90 mile per hour fastballs. It would be sheer stupidity to desire to face an all African-American lineup who some may argue invented the word “swagger.” These boys had will and skills.They were feared by all and feared none. I am quite certain that the ghosts of Pirates broadcaster Bob Prince, Roberto Clemente, “Doc” Ellis, Oprah Elliott Bruce (my father) and many, many other fans, players and journalists who have covered the Pirates since their inception are floundering around in ‘purgatory’ pining for the Pirates to win all the while refusing to be ushered through the gates of heaven until the Pirates at least make the playoffs. However, it is my prayer, hope and dream that I do not join them until I am credentialed to cover a World Series featuring the Pirates. Something tells me to make sure that my life insurance remains current because as all of you should have figured out by now; seeing the Pirates accomplish an even Steven season in 2013. I continue to believe that the Pirates will win in 2013 but this may be “just my imagination, running away with me.”  
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at abruce@new­pittsburghcourier.com or 412-583-6741.)

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